This Sunday we’ll be continuing in our study of the Gospel of John, reading John 4:46-54.
We’ve mentioned before that John’s gospel is sort of constructed around seven distinct signs that Jesus does. John doesn’t ever call them miracles, but uses the term sign. What is the function of a sign? What are these signs, or this one in particular, telling us about Jesus?
Think about the crisis that Jesus resolves in this story. What was at stake and what did Jesus provide? If that were taken as a symbol of what God is doing through Christ, how would we summarize his mission?
The official who approaches Jesus was most likely working for Herod, the puppet king under Rome’s control. The common people hated him, and there is a strong likelihood that this man wasn’t even Jewish, but part of the gentile administration that interfaced Rome with Herod’s rule. The official isn’t a popular guy…and he may even be a gentile. As we consider the progression of people who encounter Jesus, a Jewish spiritual leader, an outcast Samaritan woman, and now what could be a gentile official, what picture is emerging about who it is Jesus is willing to rescue?
For this official, the crisis of his son’s illness was the very thing that sent him to Jesus. All he cared about was getting his son healed, but in the process of making his request he finds himself in a position where he has to put his trust in what Jesus says. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? How can this help us to view our times of crisis and trouble differently?
It should prove to be an interesting passage to explore!